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Impossible Made Possible


Jess & Friend

Just nine and twelve years old when we made our first visit to Namwianga Mission in 1997, our children took to life on the mission like ducks to water.  Soon after arriving they had made friends with many of the children there, so when one afternoon our daughter confidently stated her intention to walk to see one of her new friends her father did not question her. Her belief that she could manage this trek somehow made him believe that she could, so off she went.  A short time later he realized the friend’s house was actually a long distance away and she was setting out through unfamiliar territory on a journey that she wasn’t quite equipped to handle.  He tracked her down the dusty mission road where he eventually found her, headed who-knows-where, still firm in her belief that she would make it just fine to her destination. 

Today near the spot where her father found her that day, where once there was just a sycamore fig tree in a pasture, there is now a Zonal Health Center.  Where once there was little hope of receiving adequate medicine or health care, there is now a place where mothers can give birth, wounds can be healed, and lives can be changed. 

Fifteen years ago a girl fearlessly set out on her own down a dusty foreign road just because a new friend had asked her to come. Last summer that same girl set out on a different kind of  journey, but one no less bold.   She heard God ask her to come make a film about people who travel that road and find their lives changed by the health clinic that now exists under the shade of a tree. Lack of experience, equipment and money were obvious obstacles to such an undertaking, but belief called it into being, and by September the film Nawona, The Way We See had become a reality. 

It’s no wonder the girl believed that she could make a film to tell a piece of this story using  just a camera and her personal computer.  In fifteen summers of spending time at Namwianga Mission and participating in Zambia Medical Mission she has seen with her own eyes the impossible made possible.  The lame to walk.  The blind to see.  Clay become bricks, and bricks become a hospital.  An empty pasture made into a place of full of hope.   Loaves and fishes multiplied.

Bricks in the making


Bricks for Zambian Hospital

Groundbreaking for the Namwianga Hospital

Namwianga Zonal Health Clinic
Namwianga Zonal Health Clinic

This time the confidence didn’t come from nine-year-old nervy naivete’, but from the knowledge that God can take what we have and multiply it beyond our imagination, if we turn it over to him.  She has seen that what we might do with it will be miniscule compared to what it can become in God’s hands. 

I wonder if the people who helped make our trip possible in 1997 had even a glimmer of an idea the impact their gift would make on the life of a nine-year old girl?  They may have thought that they were buying a plane ticket, a visa, or some meals.  The flight, her first, was memorable.  She was sick with anticipation before the trip began.  The stomach ache she experienced in the airport faded away as our plane took to the air.  Any worries about flight that she had experienced were left on that runway, along with any chance that she or any of the other three of us would ever see the world exactly the same again. 

Anticipating the Journey, 1997
Anticipating the Journey, 1997

She’s flying across the ocean again this July.   And just like in 1997, money will come from the pockets of many for one plane ticket.  She has plans to make another film.   It will tell a little more of the story of a place whose dusty roads have been walked by many whose lives have been changed by a place called Namwianga .  One of those changed was a girl named Jessalyn. 

Jess and Zambian Child

Her new endeavor,  The Joyful Noise Project: A film about the phonetics of hope is underway.  You can learn more about her vision for the film and  how it will be created here.  I’ll warn you now, she aims to steal your heart and your voice to make joyful noise with her. 

Jess and Lisa

 Josh and Owen

Jess and African Friends

Family in front of an Termite Mound







  1. Mom
    Posted 18 May ’12 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    This brought tears to my eyes as I remember the day you left for Namwianga the first time. I remember the anxiety expressed in Jessalyn’s demeanor that day and think of the confidence she has developed, knowing that what God asks of you He will equip you for.

  2. Posted 21 May ’12 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I’m crying reading this! What a blessing that God takes ordinary people and uses us for extraordinary things. It is truly amazing to see all of the work God has done through you all during these mission trips. And how we don’t appreciate the common ordinary medical care we have every day. My family will keep you and yours in our prayers and I am having the whole house keep a tally of our use of medicine, bandages, etc starting today.


  3. Posted 7 Jun ’12 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Very moving!
    xoxo Ingrid

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